Dress up with the Longhorn Ex­press

A be­spoke West­ern Star hauls R.M.’s shop

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels - JAMES STAN­FORD james.stan­ford@cars­guide.com.au

AUS­TRALIANS, doff your Akubras out of re­spect for this awe­some rig. West­ern Star has built a cus­tom Out­back­themed prime mover for Aus­tralian cloth­ing re­tailer R.M. Wil­liams.

Fa­mous for pre­mium mole­skin pants and leather boots that are pop­u­lar among coun­try folk and city slick­ers alike, RMs will use the rig to pull its im­pres­sive mo­bile store called the Longhorn Ex­press.

This unique shop, built with a wooden floor and laid out like an Aus­tralian homestead, trav­els around the coun­try, of­ten vis­it­ing towns too small for a bricks-and-mor­tar store.

It’s our way of get­ting back to the bush,’’ ex­plains R.M. Wil­liams CEO Hamish Turner.

The first Longhorn Ex­press hit the road in 2001 and has done 300,000km.

The two West­ern Star rigs that towed the unique trailer have been smart-look­ing ma­chines, but the re­tailer and truck maker have gone fur­ther this time with an eye-catch­ing truck with plenty of stain­less steel and a su­perb paint job.

The range-top­ping 4864 FXB has just been up­dated but re­tains its clas­sic Amer­i­can de­sign and spacious cabin.

Now able to run the lat­est ADR80/03 emis­sion-com­pli­ant en­gines, the FXB, along with other West­ern Star mod­els, has been tweaked to help cool­ing.

The cabin is still func­tional and spacious but has been raised to as­sist air­flow to the new en­gines.

West­ern Star fits the FXB with a Cum­mins en­gine or the all-new Detroit Diesel DD15, which fi­nally re­places the an­cient Se­ries 60 en­gine.

That is a big ad­van­tage be­cause fel­low Amer­i­can brand Freight­liner is the only other truck maker in Aus­tralia with the new 15.0-litre Detroit Diesel and its DD13 sib­ling.

In 2000, Detroit Diesel was gob­bled up by Daim­ler.

It im­me­di­ately in­vested more than $1 bil­lion in an en­gine pro­gram that re­sulted in the newDDpow­er­plants.

Rather than try to sell en­gines to other mak­ers, as had been the case in the past, Daim­ler de­cided to fit Detroit Diesel en­gines only in makes that it owns.

The dual over­head cam DD15 pro­pel­ling the Wil­liams rig pro­duces a handy 343kW (560hp) and is linked to an 18-speed Ea­ton Road­Ranger man­ual trans­mis­sion. Detroit Diesel uses the se­lec­tive cat­alytic re­duc­tion (SCR) sys­tem with AdBlue fluid in the US where stricter emis­sion rules have been in­tro­duced, but so far it is not do­ing so in Aus­tralia.

Aus­tralian en­gines have a cool ex­haust gas re­cir­cu­la­tion (EGR) sys­tem and a spe­cial par­tic­u­late ox­i­di­s­a­tion cat­a­lyst.

The Wil­liams truck has a 40-inch Strato­sphere sleeper cab decked out with wood­grain, ex­tra in­su­la­tion and a pow­er­ful evap­o­ra­tive cabin cool­ing sys­tem.

Blaze In­dus­tries fur­nished the stain­less steel com­po­nents in­clud­ing the stun­ning old- school air clean­ers and ex­haust stacks, while Narva bolted on four big driv­ing lights for ultimate night haul­ing in the bush. Adding to the look are sparkling 22.5-inch 10-stud Al­coa rims. A Wabco anti-lock disc brak­ing sys­tem is there for added safety.

It would be a spec­tac­u­lar truck decked out in white but un­doubt­edly the stun­ning paint job will at­tract at­ten­tion wher­ever this big rig goes.

West­ern Star sim­ply de­scribes it as a beau­ti­fully fin­ished can­vas.

PJ’s Cus­tom Spray Paint­ing did the bold air­brush­ing work which is a tribute to Regi­nald Mur­ray Wil­liams, who founded the com­pany nearly 80 years ago.

‘‘ The guys at PJ’s never met R.M. but I can tell you the like­ness is in­cred­i­ble,’’ Turner says. ‘‘ Their craft, their art is amaz­ing.’’

There are also sev­eral ad­di­tional bush scenes of a cat­tle stockyard, other bush set­tings, a flow­ing Aus­tralian flag as well as some great small touches like the metal straps around the fuel tanks painted to look like leather belts.

West­ern Star Aus­tralia mar­ket­ing man­ager Pat Cook says the truck has been well re­ceived. ‘‘ R.M. Wil­liams is thrilled . . . and the pub­lic re­ac­tion has been in­cred­i­ble.’’

Just fancy: The Wil­liams rig; (be­low, from left) the founder; clas­sic RMs boots; and the rig’s stun­ning art­work

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